Community Programs Manager

Chicago, IL
Full Time


The Chicago Architecture Center seeks to create far-reaching, sustainable, and positive impact on our city by meaningfully engaging diverse audiences in conversations about architecture and the built environment. Adult Learning Experiences at the CAC engage participants in the exploration of Chicago’s architectural legacy and future – including the voices and stories from the diverse communities that make up our city. 

As a primary facilitator of this work, the Community Programs Manager works closely with CAC’s Content Teams (Adult Learning Experiences, Youth Education, Exhibitions) to develop and deliver programs that illuminate issues, legacies and opportunities related to the architecture, design and the larger built environment in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. This position plays an essential role in CAC’s flagship Open House Chicago (OHC) as well as other programs that take place at the Center and in neighborhoods year-round. They advance the CAC’s role as catalyst for new ideas, and a convener across disciplines and communities by working closely with local architecture and design firms, small businesses, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, government and other key stakeholders. This position will report to the Director of Adult Learning and Engagement.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Research, develop, implement and refine adult learning experiences in accordance with CAC priorities, including a focus on speakers, formats, sites and themes that advance community/neighborhood engagement work and attract audiences reflective of Chicago’s diversity
  • Develop, manage, and foster relationships that result in mutually-beneficial, community-based programming in neighborhoods and at the Center
  • Identify, remain current in and apply best practices in lifelong learning and community engagement through public programs for adults
  • In partnership with Content Team Directors and Vice President, develop and implement program evaluation tools to analyze and interpret data to improve or strengthen adult-focused community engagement programs and initiatives
  • Represent the CAC in diverse settings, tailoring messaging to widely varying stakeholders including community & political leaders, neighborhood residents, community-based organizations and young people
  • Serve as liaison between community stakeholders and the CAC, ensuring consistent communication and responsiveness to community needs
  • Promote and support the CAC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Framework
  • Collaborates with other Content Team departments including youth education, interpretation, and exhibitions
  • Support fundraising efforts, including developing content for grant proposals and contributing to grant reports.
  • Represents the CAC for external local, national and international stakeholders.

Skills & Attributes:

  • Expansive knowledge of diverse communities, ideally within Chicago, with proven networking abilities
  • Must be a strategic thinker with the ability to plan and execute goals and objectives across multiple departments
  • Able to manage outreach in a rapidly changing environment, providing recommendations, strategies and solutions in response to new knowledge or unexpected circumstances
  • Interest in and awareness of architecture, urban planning issues, Chicago history, community organizing and current trends
  • Flexibility, a collaborative attitude, and a sense of humor to adapt to schedule and organizational changes, and unforeseeable circumstances that arise
  • Ease and familiarity with connecting and relating to people of different backgrounds; Ability to communicate in Spanish strongly preferred
  • Must have excellent interpersonal and customer service skills and have the ability to establish and maintain effective relationships
  • Clear understanding of multiple communication platforms and proficient use of social media
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking and media relations
  • Must be highly organized and detail oriented, with strong follow-through and ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to work successfully in collaborative team environments


  • Bachelor's degree in related field (architecture, urban planning, culture heritage conservation, public interest design, etc.) required, master's degree preferred; Additional years of experience may be substituted for degree requirement
  • Demonstrated experience in the development and delivery of adult learning programs
  • Skilled facilitator with demonstrated experience working with and across diverse communities and multiple perspectives, and a record of work that models inclusive excellence
  • Proven experience working within urban communities
  • Project management experience
  • Must be willing and able to travel around the city frequently, work some evenings and weekends

Compensation: $65,000-$70,000 annually

*Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination at date of hire.

The Chicago Architecture Center values the diversity of our community and the neighborhoods around it. We strive for a sense of belonging and empowerment at work. We welcome everyone to join us on our tours, educational programs, and exhibitions, as well as to apply for our job openings.

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